Author(s): Roy D, Angelini NL, Belsham DD
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Abstract Estrogen has wide-ranging and complex effects on the reproductive axis, which are often difficult to interpret from in vivo studies. Estrogen negatively regulates tonic GnRH synthesis and also plays a pivotal role in the positive regulation of GnRH necessary for the preovulatory surge. To dissect the mechanisms by which these divergent effects occur, we attempted to observe the direct action of estrogen on the regulation of GnRH messenger RNA (mRNA) levels using the well characterized, GnRH-secreting, hypothalamic cell line, GT1-7. Using RT-PCR, we first investigated estrogen receptor transcript expression in GT1-7 neurons. We found that the GT1-7 cells express both estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) and the recently described ERbeta mRNAs. We also detected the presence of both receptor subtypes in the GT1-7 neurons by Western blot analysis using specific ER antibodies. By Northern blot analysis of total GT1-7 RNA, we found that 17beta-estradiol (1 nM) down-regulates GnRH mRNA levels to approximately 55\% of basal levels over a 48-h time course. This effect appears to occur specifically through an ER-mediated mechanism, as ICI 182,780, a complete ER antagonist, blocks the repression of GnRH mRNA levels by estradiol. The recently reported ERalpha-specific agonist/ERbeta-specific antagonist 2,2-bis-(p-hydroxyphenyl-1,1,1-trichloroethane (HPTE), a methoxychlor metabolite, also down-regulated GnRH gene expression. The repression of GnRH mRNA levels appears to occur at the transcriptional level, as simian virus 40 T antigen mRNA expression, which is under the control of 2.3 kb of the rat GnRH 5'-regulatory region, mimics the down-regulation of GnRH after treatment with estradiol. As the rat GnRH regulatory region in GT1-7 neurons does not appear to harbor a classic estrogen response element, the mechanism involved in the repression of GnRH has yet to be determined. These results suggest that estradiol directly regulates GnRH gene expression at the level of the GnRH neuron and may exert its neuroendocrine control through direct interaction with specific receptors expressed in these cells.
This article was published in Endocrinology
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science